Sunday, July 1, 2012

Kierkegaard on predicative being...

Wow, this is a deep bit of writing:

"Jehovah says: I am who I am; I am. This is the supreme being. But to be in this way is too exalted for us human beings, much too earnest. Therefore we must try to become something; to be something is easier. Roguish, as everything related to humanity is, we express it in this way: earnestness is to be something.

Most men, or at least almost everyone, would die of anxiety about himself if his being should be—a tautology; they are more anxious about this kind of being and about themselves than about seeing themselves. So their situation is mitigated. The alleviation might be, for example: I am Chancellor, Knight of Denmark, member of the Cavalry Purchasing Commission, Alderman, Director of the Club. In a deeper sense all this is—diversion.

But, to repeat, man is probably not able to bear true earnestness. What I am inveighing against is merely this lying, this making diversion into earnestness. And yet perhaps I am wrong here, too; for generally men would never be able to last it out if they weren't permitted to live in the illusion that this is earnestness; they would die of anxiety about life and about themselves at the mere thought that their earnestness is diversion, without, however, being deprived of this diversion.

But no doubt all these numerous predicates are actually diversions, distractions, which prevent a man from the deepest impression of this to be. And how infinitely far men now are from being able to bear the actual impression of earnestness is best seen from the fact that they have even made this predicative being into—Christianity."

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